Friday, December 14, 2012

good grief

Alright, so I promised more honesty would be heading your way.
Well, buckle up, here it comes.

This week I finished off my last week of school.  It was my final time taking classes on campus.  The next two semesters will be spent in elementary schools.  So I worked out in the gym for the last time.  Walked through all those familiar hallways for the last time.  Rode the light rail for the last time (well, for the purpose of going and coming to school - I'll be utilizing my free pass in the months to come).  And man it made me happy.  I feel like I am closing the door on an area of my life that wasn't filled with much joy.

Three years ago, after my first semester of college, dad was diagnosed with cancer.  Dang.  Three years!  I can't believe it has been that long.  But at the same time, it feels like a life time ago.

When I think back over my years at that college - the time spent on that campus - it all feels heavy.  Dark and heavy.  I don't really remember many fun times (although I know there were some).  I actually don't remember much from it.  All of it seems like a blur.  A dark, heavy blur.

But, there are a few things that will be in my memory forever:
Finding out the tumor was cancerous.  Getting told it spread to his lungs.  Trying to decipher the doctor language of the fax that came in, then sitting there on the floor with the words "mass" and "cranium" repeating over and over in my head.  Crying on the roof late at night.  Sleeping in the ICU waiting room.  Speeding to the hospital when his lung collapsed (followed by getting pulled over...).  Holding him as he seizures and thinking, "God, are you gonna let him die in my arms?"

Goodness, so much has happened.  SO much has changed.  I mean, how did it go from having my dad - with everything completely normal - to this?  How did we get to this point?  From walking to barely able to stand.  From having deep conversations about life's problems to barely able to answer a yes or no question.  From being the big, strong, comforting dad to being weak, small, and needing comfort.  From him being consumed with my life to me being consumed with his.

Alright, so I don't tell you all this to make you sad and to feel bad for me.  Truly, that is not the reason I'm writing this.  Mostly, I just need to say this - for my own benefit.  I need to get it all out, think through it, process it, and just....get through it.

I was thinking about what has really encouraged me over the years and I realized this: it's your stories.  There have been a few people who have shared their stories of similar hurt in their lives.  Let me tell you, that made all the difference to me.  All I wanted to know is that someone else was or is feeling the same way I was.  I wanted to know I wasn't insane for feeling the ways I was feeling.  So really, this is just me putting it all out there for people who need to hear this.  I don't know what that really means or what that looks like.  But, my hope is that it will help someone....anyone.  I really believe God gave us each other to "share our burdens" with and I am finally realizing that is exactly what I need.

"Grieving is good.  You've gotta get it out.  It's normal.  It's expected.  And it's no wrong."

Has anyone ever said that?!  I don't know.  If they have, I've never heard it.  But there you have it.  I said it and I hope that helps.

Things are really rough right now with dad and we could all (my whole family) use lots 'o prayers.  So, many thanks and love to you all, and to all a good night.

Monday, December 10, 2012

let's be honest

I have not been good about writing on my blog.
It's true. 
But let's be honest: life has been insane lately.

I've been challenged (by a few different people) to not only write on my blog more, but to really tell my story.  To give the unedited version of my life.  My initial response was to laugh.  I thought, "  That would be no fun to write nor read about."

But really what I was thinking was, "That is scary.  Be completely honest with what has been going on in my life?  No.  That's too close to my heart.  An area that is still too raw to talk about.  Maybe down the road I can share what has been going on.  Maybe I'll heal from this and then I can talk about it."

What I realized is this:

telling your story is part of healing.
When I think I am protecting myself by not confronting what is going on, I am doing myself a disservice.  I have to talk.  I have to work through things.  I have to let people in so that I can let all this out.

I love it when people are completely honest with me.  I encourage it.  I in fact ask people to be 100% straight forward with me.  However, I realized I don't always return the favor.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not going around lying to you all.  Haha, that's not what I mean at all.  What I'm saying is that I realized I have become very good at giving generalized answers.  I'm basically pro at giving a vague answer that does not require me sharing my feelings about what's going on.  I stick with the facts and move along.

But that really doesn't help at all.  Granted, I'm not going to pour out my soul to every person who asks about my day.  That would just be awkward.  But, in the end, we all have emotions.  We all have feelings.  We all have our junk, our hurts, our joys, our fears, and our loves.  And they need to be shared.  That's why we have each other- why we have community, family, and friends. 

Alright, so let's all join hands and talk about our feelings, okay?  Haha just kidding.  That sounds awful.  But in all honesty, this is where I'm at.  This is where I'm going: being honest.  Opening up.  Healing up.  And maybe, in a way, giving up.  Giving up my weird ideas that being open and close with people is scary. 

Sheesh, okay.  That's all the honesty I've got for the night.  More to come, folks, more to come :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

the boundary line

I've been thinking about how God orchestrates our lives.
He opens doors and closes them.
He speaks and he is silent.

God places us in situations we don't want to be in.
He calls us to stay.  He calls us to go.

And ya know what, sometimes it's not what I want.
Sometimes, it's exactly what I don't want. 
I found myself wanting to change so much in my life that I have zero control over.

This seems a little silly,
but it all came to a head when I went running the other day:

I was pumped.  I was going to "My View".

Let me explain that a bit...
"My View" is a 3mile loop that is perfection.
It is the closest area to my house that has the best view of the mountains.
Being in the city, it's not always easy to find a place where you can get a really great view of those gorgeous mountains.
But no, My View is awesome.
I can see the gorgeous sunsets and mountains and get my 3 miles in!

I thought it was PERFECT.

Okay, so you get it.  I love it there.
Well, the other day I went out and I saw this:

Gosh, I was about to jump over that fence and tell them to STOP!
They are building something exactly where my view is.
My mountain view was replaced with a green fence.
The fresh mountain air was being polluted with diesel. 

I was mad.
I turned around and headed down another street, through a little neighborhood.
Once on that new lil road, yellow trees lined the black pavement.
It was dreamy.
I then found a little trail I'd heard of before.  I was a little timid about trying it out - I didn't want to go down a sketch trail and ruin my run!
But oh baby was freaking amazing.  Huge old trees, dirt path, open fields, a few ponds, and spectacular views of the mountains!

As I ran along, I realized...
wow.  I thought My View was perfect.  I thought that was the best it could get.  But because that was no longer an option, I was able to go somewhere completely new and it was far better than I thought was possible!

I have seen this over and over in my life.

When I think something is great, the door gets shut, I get upset...yet God somehow always gives me something better.

I keep on coming back to this scripture:

"The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance."

-Psalm 16:6

There are so many boundary lines that I have come across.
Boundaries that are set without my consent.

I've seen this in relationships:
you think this cute lil crush of yours is the end all, be all...
and he isn't.
You think friends will be by your side for forever and ever, amen...
but for whatever reason, life happens, and they aren't there anymore.
Distance that cannot be breached,
lines that can't be crossed.
Things that can't be mended.

I've seen this in situations I've been in:
can't move off to another country because, well...
I need to get things done, focus on adult things...
just stuff that I would rather do without, but I can't.
Lines that are there that I wish wouldn't be.

However, I've come to this conclusion: 
those lines have fallen in pleasent places.
Instead of wondering why they are there and only seeing the...
"What the heck did they do to My View?!"
I am realizing there is more.

God always has more in store for us.
Yes, there are lines.
There are boundaries.
But they are all set up to bless me, to help me.

To protect me.

Sure, if I'm being honest, most of the time I hate those boundary lines.
But, in the end, I realize that God is so much better than that 3mile loop.
He has a wonderland of huge trees, colorful sunsets, crisp mountain air, and infinitely more than I could ever imagine.

Respect the boundary lines,
and God will bless you with a delightful inheritance. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

two options

"Nehemiah said, 
'Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, 
and send some to those who have nothing prepared. 
This day is holy to our Lord. 
Do not grieve, 
for the joy of the Lord is your strength.'"
-Nehemiah 8:10

Man, it's already the middle of October.
Fall is here:
leaves are yellowing and falling to the ground,
the air has a crisp mountain breeze,
and the sun is deep in color.
I LOVE this time of year.

Things 'round the Martin house have been pretty crazy these past few weeks.
Dad got another PET scan and, well...
the results weren't very good.
The doctors gave him two options:

1. Do chemo again (which was highly unrecommended) 
2. Get help from hospice

Option two was chosen, and thus began the stream of nurses in and out of our house.
It was a rough week or so trying to get pain meds figured out.
Extreme waves of pain, nausea, panic attacks, and drowsiness filled each day.
Kinda felt like a whirlwind. A fog. Something you just try to get past.

Things have settled down a bit, now.
Not as many nurses,
and pain is mostly under control.

Like my dad, I realized I had two options.
I could:

1. Grieve (which is highly unrecommended) 
2. Be joyful 

I felt Satan constantly giving me reasons to grieve.
To be sad.
To feel hopeless.

Thankfully, God reminded me that with His JOY I have strength.
And let me tell you...that joy is much better than giving into grief.

It hasn't been a walk in the park, but man, it sure feels better to rely on His strength and be filled with HIS joy than with anything else.  That is really what gets you through.  It can, will, and does get you through even the darkest of times.

Hope God shows you how to pick option 2 this week.

Been working at a school a lot this semester.  Busy is right!

Found my new favorite spot to run:

Remember that bread I was baking?  Yeah, it turned out AMAZING! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012



I love the word: musing.

So, that's what I'm going to do...

Well, I'm of age to drink alcoholic beverages.
haha aka: I turned 21.
This is exciting, stuff, don't ya know?!
Not that I am planning on drinking every day.
haha at all...
But I feel all growd' up now!
Besides renting a car (seriously, why do you have to be 25?!)  I can do virtually anything!

Watch out, world!

Just kidding.  I'm not doing anything particularly crazy.
I'm actually waiting for my first loaf of home-made, gluten free bread!
The smell...oh baby, it's filling the house...
and I still have an HOUR and a HALF to wait for it to be done!
Patience is a virtue, right?

Some favorite lines from work include (but are not limited to):

4th Grade Girl:
"Brookie, when I was in preschool, I used to get really hungry.  So, I would go up to this little girl and start biting her arm.  I just wanted something to bite.  Because I was hungry!  My dad had to call her dad and apologize.  My dad said, 'Sorry my daughter is trying to eat your daughter.' hahahaha it was funny."

2nd Grade Boy:
"Hey, if you could be any car, what kind of car would you be?!  I would be a tow truck.  Because then I could throw my hook at people and throw them WAY UP into in the air!, if I was driving to work someday, I could hook the cars in front of me and throw them out of my way!  Then I would never be late!  Muuuahahahahhaa!"

2nd Grade Girl:
"Brookie Cookie, I am going to call you 'Miss Cookie'.  Or, no...I'm going to call you....MADAME COOKIE!"
Haha, it is pretty awesome to hear "Madame Cookie" being screamed across the playground.  The parents give me really weird looks...and it's awesome.

Man, kids are great.
They are hilarious.
And they make me super happy.

Anywhooo, my birthday was super great.
I am up on technology now with my lil iPHONE,
I got flowers, did a "Canvas and Cocktails" class,
new Fall candle, a large knife,
emergency blanket, multipurpose tool (brothers are great!),
and an awesome day filled with people I really, really love.

So thankful and so blessed.
Thanks so all that made it so special and blissFULL.

Dad update::
Well, he has (thankfully) regained some of his apetite.  This is great news because now all foods don't taste entirely disgusting to him!  Yay!  So, as long as he isn't throwing up, he is able to get some food in him.  His pain levels have been increasing and he has had a nasty cough.  He is going in to get an xray sometime soon to check out his lungs.  Praying things are lookin good, they can have some good reports, the cough will go away, he will get some more energy, pain will be controlled, and that he will gain more weight. that too much to ask for?  Nope.  We are to "boldly approach the throne of God", right?  Well, there ya go.  Pray with boldness, people! :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

all the time

I feel almost...unprepared to write this.
I've been trying to sum up these past few weeks.
But I just don't really know what to say.
All I can think is...

God is good.


He has given me exactly what I needed these past weeks.

He not only provided what I needed...
But He gave me JOY along the way.

Starting up school,
being in a routine again,
stress welling up,
juggling a new schedule,
and He gives me peace.
He gives me grace when I start to lose my marbles.
He gives me an escape from the mundane.

Joy wells up in me as I walk in the doors to workand hear, 
Followed by little arms around me.

When I feel like I have to have everything figured out,
pressure is high,
panic ensues,
and He says he already has it figured out.
He says just to follow him.
He says, "My grace is sufficient for you."

Deep sigh.

He sure is good, huh.

He is good.
the time.

Every stage of life.
Every phase.
Every day.
Every moment.
In every way.

Man.  Praise God.

If you would like to pray that dad could regain some strength, weight and appetite, that would be lovely!

Walmart apparently has camo hats with built-in head lights! haha

True story: my mom and I skyped each other from different floors of the house. 

little blue grass concert featuring my second padre: Mr. Owens! 

back on the lightrail... 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

losing control

Recently, I have found myself in a few situations that have been completely out of my control.

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation—
so why should I be afraid?
The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble?

Last week dad had a seizure on our back porch.  It came in an instant.  Took over his body.  And he was convulsing out of control.  As I held him, I felt like I had zero control.  I couldn't stop it.  I couldn't make it better.  We just had to get through it.

He ended up going to the hospital and they didn't have any real answers as to why it happened.  But, praise God, he is back home and doing pretty good now. 

2 When evil people come to devour me,
when my enemies and foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.

Praise God that, even when everything seems to be spiraling out of control, He holds it all together.
He has a plan.
In His loving arms we can find rest, affirmation, and healing. 
He will always come to our rescue.  

3 Though a mighty army surrounds me,
my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
I will remain confident.

Our future.
We can do all we want, make all the decisions we can...
but life always turns out differently than we plan, huh?
If we're being honest, our lives are always out of our control.
Anything we think we have control over is usually an illusion.
He is the only one that holds our past, present, and future.

4 The one thing I ask of the LORD—
the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
delighting in the LORD’s perfections
and meditating in his Temple.

I found myself wishing I could transport all the people I love to Colorado.
Every single one of them.
We could all live in one town.
We'd be happier than could be.
But that is out of my control.
Only the LORD determines our times and places.

5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
he will hide me in his sanctuary.
He will place me out of reach on a high rock.

In times of trouble, chaos.  When the storms come.

He stands.
He stands.
He stands.

6 Then I will hold my head high
above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
singing and praising the LORD with music.

What a beautiful picture that psam 27 paints.
In all times, when we have no control, He holds it all.
He hides us away in his sanctuary.

In his HOLY sanctuary.
He extends peace to us like a river (Isaiah 66:12).
Just His sweet voice singing over us (Zeph. 3:17).
And in His awesome power, 
He makes us his royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9).

And so, we are able to stand with Him,
in the midst of losing control,
and worship His Holy, powerful, victorious, wonderful name. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

the high of July

"You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever."
-Psalm  16:11

July flew by.
I took a break from almost all internet for the month and it was amazing.
God blessed me this month more than I could possibly say.
I feel like everything changed.
It was all too wonderful for words.

So, let's do this...
Let's look at some pictures and I'll narrate about the happenings of July:

If there was ever a relaxed, blissFULL, fun, God-centered would be Brett & Emily's wedding.
From the Bachelorette party, to open house & getting to meet all their friends from OK, to rehearsal dinner, and a beautiful wedding day.
I feel so so blessed to have gotten to spend time with all my family AND meet so many awesome people.
Two families.  Now one.
And it feels so goooooood :)

4th of JULY:
Brett + Emily were in MX but the rest of us were able to relax for a lovely holiday together.
We broke out the groomsman's gifts for some backyard knife throwing,
ate food from the barbie, and just enjoyed the junk out of being together.

"I am praying to you because I know you will answer, o God.
Bend down and listen as I pray.
Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways.
By your mighty power you rescue those
who seek refuge from their enemies.
Guard me as you would guard your own eyes.
Hide me in the shadow of your wings."
-Psalm 17: 6-8
Blake, Brice, Kylie and I went shooting with my brotha from anotha motha: Terren.
Have I mentioned that I love shooting guns? haha well, this love seems to grow every time I go.

I road tripped back to Oklahoma with my newest sissy in law: Emily!
We only stopped talking when we were belting out Rihanna & having a dance party.
Truly moments I will remember and cherish forever.  I love that girl!
Once in town, I ended up spending a few extra days and exploring OK with Brett's friend, Kent!
We seriously did everything.  It. Was. AMAZING!
Everything from shooting, building fires, 4 wheeling, and cherry eating to staying at a lake house, exploring a monastery, meeting a bunch of new people, and seeing all kinds of red-necks.
Couldn't have asked for a better weekend.  Such a blessing!

So then came my annual trip to the lovely Roundup Ranch...
Awesome camp (as always).  God spoke, hearts were changed, and we praised God in the valley.
Praise God!  Bryan got baptized, we hiked, I cooked, and God blessed it all.

Went camping for the day with Brady, Tirza, Brice, Harrison & Ollie!
Minturn, CO is where we ended up.  Awesome camp site all to ourselves,
cute town, explored a super old cemetery, hiked in Holy Cross Wilderness (most gorgeous hike I've EVER been on), and our camp stove exploded on us!
Haha it was such a great little get away.  Love my family :)

oooh baby, last but not least:

Mount Elbert: 
Irene and I had been wanting to do a moonlight 14er for quite a while.
So, we got together, convinced some guys to come with us and started up the mountain at midnight!
We hiked almost the whole way by moonlight (God's flashlight).
Ended up hiking around 20 miles for 12 straight hours with no sleep.  
It was BY FAR the most physically exhausting thing I've ever done.
BUT, we did it (thanks to GOD), the sunrise was gorgeous,
we made an awesome pancake bfast at the top,
and I'm pretty proud to have hiked the highest mountain in CO :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

eat up, fill up!

"Then the angel of the LORD came again and touched him and said, 
'Get up and eat some more, 
or the journey ahead will be too much for you.' "
- 1 Kings 19:7

I was reading in first Kings the other night and that scripture really stood out to me.  
God wants us to get up and eat.  To eat that spiritual food that fills your soul.
Get up, fill up, and you'll be able to get through the journey that's ahead. 
That could mean reading your Bible, it could mean resting with God, or simply spending more time in prayer.  
I don't know.  It could be different for each person's needs.
But errbody needs to fill up!
If you feel like you're runnin' on empty, let the Spirit lead you, convict you, move you, and fill you.

Dad finished up his last radiation treatment this week (!!).  It for sure hasn't been the easiest journey but we got through.  He no longer has hair, still feels super sick some days, has foggy thinking, and his left leg/arm are still not functioning right.  They haven't done a CAT scan to see if the tumor has shrunk but I'm not sure dad wants to do it anyways.  Regardless of the results, the doctors said they would have nothing else to do (you can only radiate someone so much).  And dad says he, "Hates getting in that tube!"  So, for now he is taking some supplements that have been said to cure cancer and trying to recover from the radiation.

I hiked four 14,000 foot mountains in two weekends!  So crazy!  Two each Saturday.  
Talk about amaaaaaazing!
I love me muh Colorado mountains.
To see da peeksures, you can look on my photography blogdiggity:

Speaking of Colorado, please, please, PLEAAASE keep those beautiful mountains and all the people being affected by the fires in your prayers.  
We desperately need rain and NO wind!

Also, can I just say...this song is truly amazing?!
It just hits my spot...

Here is my main man and I on Father's Day: